Friday, October 22, 2010

Black Cat Buffer Boost

This is a custom product we did a couple of months ago. Claude from NYC contacted us to see if we could make some buffers for him. That's one of those things that's just so simple, it never even occurred to us to offer it as a product.

Claude told us that Black Cat Fred made some buffers for him many years ago, and now he wanted to get some more. Looking through some old documentation, we discovered that Fred actually built a good number of buffer pedals during the heydays of the original Black Cat.

We made a couple of different buffers for Claude. This one pictured here is a Black Cat Custom Buffer Boost. It has one input and three outputs, and the Level control can boost the signal up to 40 dBs. It's pretty snazzy looking too! Whaddaya think?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Super Fuzz explosion!

We get a lot of pedal repair work at the FMO Gear Shop, but most of them aren't as spectacular as this one. A customer emailed us to ask if we could repair a Fred Bonte era Black Cat Super Fuzz. At this point, we've done repairs on just about all of the Black Cat pedals from the original line, so I told the customer to go ahead and send it in.

When the Super Fuzz arrived, Greg opened it up and quickly figured out what the problem was. Someone had used the wrong power supply.  Now, this is not an uncommon issue when dealing with effects pedal repairs. Many 9V powered stompboxes even have a protection diode after the DC Jack for exactly that reason (guitarists aren't fond of reading instructions). But this was no ordinary repair.

Unlike the current Black Cat models, the Super Fuzz in question did not have a protection diode. So not only did it fry the DC power jack, but it blew the bottom right out of the battery. I’ve never seen anything quite like it! So I just had to take a picture (I thought maybe no one would believe me). But here's the proof.

I hope this serves as a lesson for pedal players everywhere. Remember kids, always make sure you're using the proper power supply with your favorite stompbox.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mennen Speed Stick Rant - UPDATE!

I apparently hit a nerve with my previous post regarding my issue with the Mennen Corporation, at least according to our web stats. It seems a good number of people stumbled across our blog while looking for a place to purchase Alpine Force Speed Stick by Mennen. It was comforting to learn that I was not the only disenfranchised Mennen Speed Stick deodorant user. Maybe if we band together and rally for the cause, the Almighty Mennen Corporation will hear our pleas. Long live the Spice Scent Speed Stick! May the Alpine Force be with you!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Special Orders don't upset us!

We recently got an email from Jeff from NY, who wanted to know if we could make a Black Cat Bass Octave Fuzz with top jacks instead of side jacks. I checked with Greg first to make sure there wouldn't be any complications, and after getting the okay was happy to tell Jeff it would be no problem.

The only slight drawback would be that the silkscreen would still indicate side positions for the In and Out jacks. Jeff said that wouldn't bother him in the least, as long as the jacks were on top. This was a cool project to work on, and it turned out very nicely. The best part was getting this email we received from Jeff:

I received the pedal today... AWESOME! It sounds great, and thanks for moving the jacks to the top.

I have to say, the wiring and construction is meticulous and probably one of the finest pedals I've seen (and I've been tinkering with pedals for almost 20 years). As with most fuzz boxes, it sounds better with passive basses rather than active electronics, but it's such a nice fuzz tone.

 I really regretted selling my old Black Cat Bass Octave Fuzz (the gray one), but now I have basically the same thing only much better! Best Regards, Jeff